UK’s biggest housebuilders hand top bosses bumper bonuses

UK’s biggest housebuilders hand top bosses bumper bonuses

Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey, Britain’s two biggest housebuilders, handed their chief executives bumper bonuses last year, when building bounced back amid a house price boom.

Persimmon boss Dean Finch received a total pay and bonus package of £2.6m last year, the York-based builder’s annual report showed. That compared with £218,326 in 2020, although he only took over as boss in September of that year.

His pay included a £725,000 salary, a £1.3m annual bonus, and a buyout award of £404,384 to make up for earnings he lost out on when he left his previous employer, National Express.

Finch’s fixed pay and benefits of £833,742 was 32 times the £26,005 that Persimmon’s lowest-paid quartile were paid last year.

However, Finch’s package was still well short of the £110m proposed bonus for Jeff Fairburn, who served as Persimmon’s chief executive until November 2018. The bonus was cut to £75m and Fairburn promised to give a “substantial” amount to charity, but he was still ousted in November 2018. It prompted public outrage, especially as the housebuilder partially relied on the government’s help to buy programme for its sales.

The £29bn help to buy scheme, which is aimed at first-time buyers and ends next year, was criticised by a House of Lords report in January for failing to “provide good value for money” for the taxpayer.

Fairburn has since made a comeback with Berkeley DeVeer, a Wetherby-based housebuilder in which he acquired a controlling stake in January 2020. A year later, the company acquired another builder, Avant Homes.

At Taylor Wimpey, the outgoing chief executive Pete Redfern received a total pay and perks package of £2.8m last year, up from £1.1m in 2020, according to its annual report. It included a cash and share bonus of £1.3m whereas in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the company decided to cancel executive bonuses.

Redfern has run the company for 15 years and is handing over to Jennie Daly, the current group operations director, who becomes chief executive at the annual meeting in late April. Her total remuneration rose to £1.3m last year from £515,000 in 2020.

Taylor Wimpey’s median pay and benefits for employees is £46,455, while the lowest quartile is paid £31,651.

Revenues at the housebuilder rose 54% from 2020 to £4.3bn last year, similar to its pre-pandemic revenues, while profit before tax jumped 157% to £680m. This was still below its 2019 profit of £836m.

Persimmon made a profit before tax of nearly £1bn last year, up by a quarter from 2019, as it completed 14,551 homes, generating revenues of £3.6bn.

The Berkeley Group chief executive Rob Perrins is the highest-paid boss of a UK housebuilder. He received just under £8m in salary and share bonuses last year. Most of this, £7.3m, was a payout from a 2011 long-term incentive plan, a share bonanza that also prompted public criticism. The seven-strong executive team at the London and southeast-focused builder collectively received around £24m in pay and perks last year.